This was my 1st XTERRA. Ever. I just purchased a Trek 4500 mtb to race this race. I was so not aware of how difficult this race was that I also did the trail run the same morning but 3 hours before the race. I won the trail run so with $50 in my pocket already I lined up to tackle the full distance off-road triathlon as well. I had a decent swim by my standards then headed out on the bike. That ride was the most demanding ride of my life. I rode with a flat pedal and running shoes. I had to get off my bike EVERY time a steep climb came. I was almost crying it was so painful. I went from 2nd place out of the swim back to about 6th by the end of the ride. Then I managed to find my running legs again and did the same 6k run course and only 2 minutes slower than in the morning. I passed for second with less than half a mile to go. I was never that tired in my life as on that day. And I don't want to be.
XTERRA Pipestem Creek started me on a long journey that has yet ot come to an end. A lot of hiccups, ups and even more downs led me to this day. I will always be thankful to Steven Aesoph and his incredible volunteer crew and loyal sponsors to put on this excellent event. While it's far from being the biggest event on the circuit, the course is brutal, the post-race feed is unparalleled and the payday is exceptional.
In 2014, after 3 unsuccessful tries I finally came here to win. I did all the work I could over the past few months. The road since the accident has been long and I just now started to see the results of all the sweat.
Without former winners Luke Nelson and Will Kelsay I had no real contender on this day.
For the first time ever I exited the water in first place though it wasn't my best swim ever.
With a bigger lead up front I knew I didn't have to risk too much. I was careful but brisk on the downhills and my new S-Works World Cup's 1x11 gearing helped me climb those hills "almost" effortlessly that brought tears in my eyes in 2011. To my surprise this rather conservative ride clocked almost a minute faster than last year's when I played cat and mouse with Will and Luke. With the nearest contender about 10 minutes back I was able to set the cruise control on the run and run a split about 2 minutes slower than last year. I know I am faster than last year so this didn't concern me much. My goal was to keep my HR and effort level in check so I recover a little faster from this race.
This first place finish didn't feel as good as it would have with Will and Luke chasing me down to the line but I will take it.
I would like to say a huge good job to all participants who braved the heat. Some of them were out on the course 3+ hours in 90+ heat on a grueling course.
If I am still in North Dakota in 2015 I will definitely build this race in my schedule.
Last year today marked the first mountain bike race I ever entered. The race was a long, nearly 28 mile long loop around the Pipestem Reservoir. Off the gun I was in first place although I rode ver conservatively. I remembered the sketchy sections on the course though it had just rained overnight. I crashed at least 3 times on the bike and all the time it happened in knee-deep water. The first time I didn't except the water level to be so deep and tried to ride through the giant puddle at full speed. Well, it didn't work out. Steven later told me he had to laugh when he saw me come to a near full stop in the sticky mud followed by what it seemed like a graceful lean in the black mud. I quickly recovered and rode on only to do this two more times along the course. Luckily Steven took out the section where I did a 360 last year with all the boulders hid in the 3-4 feet tall grass.
I pressed hard into the wind on the long gravel road section and likely built on my already comfy lead. I finished about 7 minutes slower than last year but last year, aside my one big crash we didn't have to worry about all the water on the course and I was chasing the lead group like a mad man.
This race also included a post-race meal with some beers and food on the table thanks to the event's awesome sponsors.
Next up is the ITU World Triathlon- Chicago. Olympic Distance Race